CRISPR-Cas9 Used to Increase Crop Yields of Tomatoes


Researchers [..] developed a method to edit the genome of tomatoes using CRISPR. [..] In order to so, the researchers edited trait variations or major components known to affect yield rates in crops. They included the size of the fruit, its branching architecture, and the overall shape of the plant.

CRISPR was then used to make multiple cuts inside three genome sequences in tomatoes. The sequences are called promoters, which are DNA areas close to the gene that regulate when, where, and at what level the actual “yield” genes become active. The [..] scientists were also able to include a wide range of changes in the three targeted traits mentioned by introducing multiple sets of mutations on the promoter gene sequences.

Lead researcher and CSHL professor Zachary Lippman explained in a press release, “What we demonstrated with each of the traits was the ability to use CRISPR to generate new genetic and trait variation that breeders can use to tailor a plant to suit conditions. Each trait can now be controlled in the way a dimmer switch controls a light bulb.

The team received better results when they targeted regulatory sequences as opposed to the actual “yield” of genes. As a result, they were able to achieve a subtler impact on the quantitative traits. 

CRISPR has been used to improve crop yield in the past, and in doing so could eventually be used to solve world hunger. The method in question which can be used in all food, feed, and fuel crops such as rice, maize, sorghum, and wheat can definitely contribute.

News Reference Front Line Genomics

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